Additive manufacturing of end-use consumer products still has a long way to but every day more steps are made towards achieving that goal. For now, it remains more about highly customized and exclusive products, rather than mass-produced ones, and the first thing that pops up is that these products are becoming more and more appealing. While true appreciation of the futuristic, natural and complex forms made possible by 3D printing may still be confined to a niche of first adopters, products such as the generative 3D printed shoe collection introduced by studio Ica & Kostika are sure to draw a wider public’s awe.
Ica & Kostika is a Portland-based emerging design studio accentuating the fusion of fashion design and technology. The studio highlights exclusive made-to-order production while focusing on computational innovation.
“Fueled by passion, love, beauty, and brought to life by combining art and the highest levels of mathematics, we have forged our heels – the designers say on their website. Disruption is at the core of existence. The big bang disrupted time and space, within every one of us there is longing for disruption. This is our way.”
So far, the boutique’s online portal is presenting four collections, each available on-demand, in different styles and in both metal and plastic. The core designs are inspired by sea-life and life-bearing structures in general and include Coral, Seahorse, Mycelium and Spine.
For example, the Spine design is available either as Spine DIY or Spine Metal. Starting at $800, the Spine DIY are a wearable shoe sculpture that manipulates the vertebrae of the spine to create a continuous form along the foot. Like other designs, this plastic version is 3D printed in nylon using a selective laser sintering process. The partner AM service provide puts it into production upon receiving the order. The shipped shoes are not finished and the studio recommends getting a finishing cover done locally.
The metal version, Spine Metal, starts at $2,800. They are 3D printed in steel, using a binder jetting process and later infused with bronze, creating a material that is 60% steel and 40% bronze. One pair from sizes 5-13 weighs between 4.7-9.2 lbs. In this case, the black finish gives the material a dark gray to black look. This finish is polished for a shiny and smooth look and feel.